Yeah, I'm not joking. It's optional and you have to sign up to attend. Last I heard, about 170 students and over 500 guests signed up to attend. And I don't fully know whose idea this was, either.
Highlights from the article:
"Michael Huggins, a student who will receive a master's degree in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School in Massachusetts at the end of this month, told The Root that the ceremony is 'an opportunity to celebrate Harvard's black excellence and black brilliance... This is a chance to reaffirm for each other that we enter the work world with a network of supporters standing with us. We are all partners.' "
"In 2015, only 5% of the 7,595 Harvard degrees went to black students. Jillian Simons, incoming chair of the Harvard Black Graduate Student Alliance, told The Boston Globe that the ceremony is a time to celebrate the success but also to reflect on the past.
'There is a very somber tone to it because of the things we've had to overcome,' she said.
On 23 May, Harvard University will also hold its third annual graduation ceremony for students of Latin American descent."
The Boston Globe states:
"Similar ceremonies have been held for Harvard undergraduates as well as for students at Stanford, Columbia, Temple, and other campuses. On May 23, Harvard will also hold its third annual graduation ceremony for students of Latin American descent.
The ceremony for black students was created during a period of heightened activism related to racism on college campuses and in the country at large — from the Black Lives Matter movement to the increased focus on “micro-aggressions,” passing comments that seem to trivialize or marginalize the experiences of minorities."
Here's the Boston Globe article.
I'm more curious of everyone's opinions on this. Here's the link to the Yahoo! article.
Most Helpful Opinions
If you feel alone, it can feel empowering to realize you are not. I believe that is the intent of this offering, which seems to be a positive.
Segregation: "the action or state of setting someone or something apart from other people or things or being set apart."
-> this seems independent of intent for the separation. Difficult to argue that it's not segregation under the above definition.
Racism: "the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race..."
-> the stated intent was to honor those who have been marginalized (a segregated group), doesn't seem to attribute specific abilities based on race.
Will there come a day when segregation doesn't feel appropriate? Do we naturally seek out people that are "like us" in whatever ways - self identifying and organizing it segregated groups? Is the visual the initial cue for this?
Maybe if we don't get too hung up on efforts to make others feel positive that exclude us, we'll live happier. I think some of us (me) are still learning here.